Behavioral Traits and Political Selection in Authoritarian Ruling Parties: Evidence from the Chinese Communist Party

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2018

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This dissertation investigates the role of behavioral factors in the personnel selection in authoritarian ruling parties. First, I argue that authoritarian ruling parties increase the weight of dispositional and behavioral criteria in personnel selection as a response to structural changes. Namely, the reasons behind this shift are that an authoritarian ruling party faces similar problems in personnel selection (such as heterogeneities in agents’ tasks and the multitask problem) and the party can no longer observe members’ and cadres’ loyalty based on a single indicator. Subsequently, I argue that risk attitudes, a key dispositional concept in applied psychology and behavioral politics, explain cadres’ propensities to engage in policy innovation and their obedience to the party leadership's authority and orders. I further examine two mechanisms that might explain the relationship between risk attitudes and obedience, namely sensation-seeking and loss aversion. Finally, I contend that authoritarian ruling parties employ a diversified strategy of personnel selection when they assign cadres to different offices. To test the arguments, the author employs a mixed-method approach and utilizes archival evidence, original cadre survey experiments, original survey data, and interviews in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the largest authoritarian ruling party in the world.

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Lu, Fengming (2018). Behavioral Traits and Political Selection in Authoritarian Ruling Parties: Evidence from the Chinese Communist Party. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/18223.

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